Todd McFarlane is a mega-millionaire with success undreamt of. I’m just some guy. But as I’ve been buying, reading, and enjoying Gunslinger Spawn, I’m struck with the desire to pull out the old editing red pen. Here’s my attempt to copyedit Gunslinger Spawn.
After time-traveling from the Old West to the present, Gunslinger Spawn befriends a kid named Taylor. They are then attacked by sinister angels. We pick up on page 14 of issue #1, when Gunslinger attacks, except the enemy blocks Gunslinger’s shot with his wings. The caption provides some additional info:
There’s a lot of unnecessary wordiness again, and I fail to see why quotation marks are needed for “kill shot.” Also it’s redundant to tell us that bloodlust is also enraged. My suggestion:
“The angel is too quick for Gunslinger to get the kill shot.”
“Instead, bullets hit the wings, enraging the angel.”
Most of the captions in this comic are in present tense, but they switch to past tense here. Let’s fix that for the sake of consistency. The last sentence is also too wordy, as there are more efficient ways to get the point across. The next two captions could be:
“To defile an angel’s wings is blasphemy.”
“Gunslinger knows that. He also knows it’s his only chance…”
I cut off the end of the last sentence, so it can lead into the next caption, which is:
Then we get more banter between Gunslinger and his young friend Taylor. These scenes continue to be the best written part of the comic. We learn Gunslinger is armed with knives as well as guns, and we learn more about the enemy angels. Gunslinger says:
Definitely tighten this up, and rearrange the last sentence for clarity:
“Suit yourself. Their bodies dissolve minutes after you kill them, so you don’t have to clean up. God doesn’t want humans to know all the crap he’s up to.”
Gunslinger and Taylor get moving in this panel, with something of a run on sentence:
“After a full tank of gas, which Taylor pays for, the Hellspawn pulls up outside his passenger’s home.”
Taylor discovers his father meeting with the evil angels. They drag Taylor outside, and we get this final narration:
Again, I suggest shortening and rearranging for clarity:
“As the heavenly warriors drag the screaming teenager from his house, they hear footsteps atop the wooden roof. The creator of that sound then descends upon them!”
This is still awkward, but we can allow a big dramatic flourish for the big cliffhanger at the end of the issue.
This raises a question. By shortening and simplifying McFarlane’s writing, am I taking something away from the drama and excitement of the story? I don’t believe so. Overly long and awkwardly worded sentences distract from the story, and flowery purple prose is no longer in fashion.
Come back next week to copyedit issue #2!
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